$72.6 billion is how much nine nuclear armed countries spent on their nuclear weapons as the pandemic spread in 2020 and a global treaty banning nuclear weapons took full effect. The report “Complicit: 2020 Global Nuclear Weapons Spending” details the spending of these nine countries on their arsenals, the companies that profited, and the lobbyists hired to keep nuclear weapons in business.
This amounts to $137,666 every minute, and (after adjusting for inflation) represents an increase of $1.4 billion from last year.
The U.S. spent three times more than the next in line- a whopping $37.4 billion. China was the only other country crossing the ten billion mark, spending $10.1 billion. Russia had the third highest spending at $8 billion, though the U.K.’s $6.2 billion and the French $5.7 billion weren’t so far behind. India, Israel, Pakistan also each spent over a billion on their arsenals, while North Korea spent $667 million.
Why would these countries spend so much, in the midst of the worst global pandemic in a century? The report shows that it’s not security interests, or even a resumption of so-called great power competition driving this increased spending, it’s business.
After digging through thousands of contracts, annual reports and lobby disclosures, the report shows a dozen companies got $27.7 billion in new and modified contracts to work on nuclear weapons. Those companies then turned around and spent $117 million lobbying decision makers to spend more money on defense. And they also spent upwards of $10 million funding most of the major think tanks that research and write about policy solutions about nuclear weapons.
It is time to expose this shady cycle and end this outrageous waste of public funds on weapons of mass destruction. Help us spread the word.
Header photo: Arrow anti-ballistic missile launch. Source: United States Missile Defense Agency - US NAVY. © Public Domain.